Preemptive Lieberman Launch?

Israel 'Won't Rule Out' Deploying Foreign Minister

By Tony Andwise

Published March 06, 2012, issue of March 09, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The threat of another Middle East conflagration reached new heights as Israel cranked up its rhetoric, threatening to send Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to destroy Iran’s nuclear program.

“Israel does not seek war, but the security of our people is paramount,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israel’s prime minister. “We will not rule out using Lieberman on Iran’s facilities. All options are on the table.”

Mutual Assured Demagoguery: Avigdor Lieberman will not shake the hand of any Iranian mullahs he passes as they simultaneously retaliate against his attack.
Backward
Mutual Assured Demagoguery: Avigdor Lieberman will not shake the hand of any Iranian mullahs he passes as they simultaneously retaliate against his attack.

Though international observers have long suspected that the Jewish state has stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, Israel had been coy on the subject until 2009, when Lieberman, the firebrand leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, was appointed Israel’s foreign minister.

Analysts say that the threat to deploy Lieberman suggests an escalation of the conflict.

“I think most people assumed that Lieberman was just for show, and that Israel would never seriously consider using him,” said Daniel Shabtai, an analyst at the Institute for Middle East Studies. “Even the threat of deploying such an explosive figure raises the stakes significantly.”

Though Iran does not deny that it has a nuclear program, it has long maintained that the program is for peaceful purposes.

“We just need an extra power source, that’s all,” Iranian spokesman Ahmed al-Birjani said. “Angry Birds has gotten really popular, and people need a lot more electricity for their iPads.” He added that the nuclear facilities had all been buried in reinforced concrete underneath mountains, “in case it rains.”

American officials warn that if Israel does, in fact, launch Lieberman, Iran could retaliate.

“Iran has been stockpiling its own extremists for years,” said Dora Bennet, assistant undersecretary for Mideast Affairs in the U.S. State Department. “If Iran decides to respond by dropping Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a densely populated city like Tel Aviv, the repercussions could be catastrophic.”

Shabtai added that such a violent outbreak might leave Israel at a disadvantage.

“Although Israel has been stockpiling extremists at an increasingly rapid rate, they still can’t hope to compete with Iran’s supply of extremist mullahs,” Shabtai said.

In what some observers saw as a shot across Israel’s bow, Ahmadinejad recently warned in a speech that Iran could loose a rhetorical torrent that would “turn the land of the Jews into a raging holocaust… whatever that is.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.